The Instrumentalist

Articles March 2011

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Interview:
Alyson Keller, Building a Band Program
Alyson Keller has been director of bands at Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas since it opened in 2006. From a small start of 38 underclassmen at a middle school building to a band of more than 160, the Liberty High School band keeps building on successes, including a student-run saxophone quartet performance at the 2010 Midwest Clinic. Keller, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Indiana and a master’s at North Texas, chatted with us about starting a new high school and building a strong program from the ground up.
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Conducting Clinic:
Expressive Conducting
“While on the podium, some directors unintentionally show disapproval or disinterest in the performance. Instead of making the music enjoyable, they place added stress on the ensemble members.”
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Literature:
Easier Music By Karel Husa
Many of Husa’s best-known works require advanced players with a high degree of technical skill. However, the composer has also written a number of overlooked works that are well within range of many high school groups.
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Woodwind Clinic:
Clarinet Articulation
Unless clarinetists learn good articulation habits from the beginning, they may resort to anchor tonguing. This is a hard habit for students to break.
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Profile:
The Unparalleled Generosity of Gerald Beal
“Jerry opened my consciousness to the connection of silence to sound, the infinite variety of expressions within the sound, and the joining of sounds to silence.”
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Teaching:
Students on the Podium
Countless directors made their first trip to the podium as high school students. Here is how one program turns over an entire concert to student conductors, while their director enjoys a rare chance to watch the bands as a spectator.
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Life of Reely:
Common Marching Fears
“The pride and sense of accomplishment after a fine performance overcomes any anxiety that precedes the event. I tell students that they will just have to trust me on this. Veterans who talk to the group can support this idea.”
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Notes from Northfield:
Fair Weather

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